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Gallows Thief

Gallows Thief

Written by Bernard Cornwell

Narrated by James Frain


Gallows Thief

Written by Bernard Cornwell

Narrated by James Frain

ratings:
4/5 (31 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 25, 2005
ISBN:
9780060784515
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Rider Sandman, having fought Napoleon in the French wars, expected to lead the life of an English country gentleman, but now, two years after Waterloo, his family is impoverished, his name is disgraced and he has been forced to relinquish the woman he loves from her obligation to marry him. Desperate to earn money he accepts the job of being the government's Investigator; an official who discovers whether petitions for mercy sent by condemned criminals should be granted. His first case concerns a portrait painter who is due to hang for murder in a week's time and the government makes it clear that they want the verdict confirmed.

But Rider Sandman, whose qualifications for the post are nonexistent, discovers that the painter is almost certainly innocent and, as he peels back the layers of a corrupt penal system, he finds himself pitted against some of the wealthiest and most ruthless men in Regency England who want to keep the truth hidden.

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 25, 2005
ISBN:
9780060784515
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

BERNARD CORNWELL is the author of over fifty novels, including the acclaimed New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales, which serve as the basis for the hit Netflix series The Last Kingdom. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.



Reviews

What people think about Gallows Thief

4.1
31 ratings / 21 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Rider Sandman is a hero of Waterloo, a cricket champion and former army Captain who sold his commission to pay off his father's gambling debts. In the bargain he has lost his fiancee because he is no longer good enough for her family. He is hired to investigate whether a man sentenced to hang is actually guilty of the murder of a Countess. Gallows Thief is not so gritty as the Sharpe series, except for descriptions of the executions and prison system in Britain. It will likely have broader appeal as it has enough romance to appeal to gentler readers. Unlike Sharpe, Sandman is an educated man and a gentleman despite his diminished circumstances. Parts do become tedious and repetitious as Sandman keeps running into the same obstacles which take a while to get resolved. All in all a worthwhile adventure, which has the potential to become a series.
  • (3/5)
    Not one of his better books - Predictable ending
  • (3/5)
    Well written adventure from the author of the Sharpe novels. I have a huge weakness for down-at-the-heels gentlemen, especially when they are too smart for their own good.
  • (4/5)
    This is likely my favorite book that I've read by Bernard Cornwell.
    Although he always writes well-researched historical novels, many of
    them are just a little bit too masculine and military-focused for my
    taste. With this historical mystery set in 19th century London, he
    achieves a more balanced milieu.
    Rider Sandman returns to London a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo
    expecting the respect given a military hero. However, he finds that in
    his absence, his father gambled the family fortune away, and then
    committed suicide, leaving him penniless and with an indelible stain
    upon his reputation. To make things worse, his mother and sister
    expect him to keep them in their accustomed idle and luxurious
    lifestyle - they can't even imagine the shame of becoming working
    women.
    On top of all this, Sandman's planned wedding seems to definitely be off.
    Sandman's only source of income is now to play cricket matches -
    something he's luckily good at. But is certainly not enough money to
    sustain him, and so when Lord Sidmouth recommends him for a job, he's
    quick to take it. It seems an easy commission - a portrait painter is
    accused of raping and murdering a wealthy lady as she sat for her
    portrait. It's sure that he's guilty, but an investigation needs to be
    done - purely as a formality - before the man can be hanged.
    Unfortunately, when Rider embarks upon his investigation, he quickly
    becomes certain that the portrait painter is innocent. For one thing,
    he's gay, so it seems very unlikely he would have murdered a woman in
    a crime of passion, as it is being alleged. For another thing, the
    maid who would have been able to confirm the painter's alibi has
    mysteriously disappeared.
    Against Lord Sidmouth's wishes, the upright and honest Sandman
    involves himself in a race against time to discover the truth before
    the young painter is hanged...
    Lots of dramatic tension and unexpected plot twists keep the book
    exciting, as Cornwell takes the reader on a tour of the gritty,
    realistic underside of London's criminal justice system.
  • (5/5)
    This is a stand-alone novel with a theme of capital punishment in the year 1817. Captain Rider Sandman investigates the case of a man incarcerated in Newgate prison who is subject to hang in the near future. As he proceeds with his investigations,Sandman becomes convinced that the man is innocent and another person is the true killer. Can he obtain the evidence to save the prisoner in time ?. A complete departure for Bernard Cornwell in that there are no battles in sight,and indeed very little fighting. However there is certainly the usual high level of excitement here as usual in Cornwell's books.
  • (3/5)
    Only average compared to the Sharpe series. Wish I could do a 2 1/2 star rating in that it was ok, but really not up to standard.